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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

HISTORY OF WESTERN EDUCATION

finding the law that rules his life within himself, and he maintains
that, in so far as the external restrictions are capable of passing
into this inner law, they make for true liberty. But the proviso
must be noted. It is not constraint as such that is good : only the
constraint that ultimately approves itself to a self-determining
being. Kant is quite in agreement with Rousseau about the
badness of contemporary society, and of the education that
prepares for it. The education that reconciles freedom and law
must be very different from the ordinary education. It must be
one directed by the ideal of a perfect humanity. " Children
should be educated, not with reference to the present conditions
of things, but rather with regard to a possibly improved state of
the human race—that is, according to the ideal of humanity and
its entire destiny."* In his discussion of the actual work of
education, he holds strangely aloof from all the usual questions
of curriculum and method. His main concern is with what goes
on in the experience of the individual pupil in the -different stages
of educational advancement. One of the few definite opinions
he expresses on practical matters is that public education is to be
preferred to private, because of the moral effects of the restraints
imposed on the pupil by his contact with his fellows. At the same
time, he is no believer in national education under the direction
of kings and princes. (t Experience teaches us that the ultimate
aim of princes is not the promotion of the good of mankind, but
the well-being of their own state and the attainment of their own
ends. When they provide money for educational enterprises, they
reserve to themselves the right to control the plans." " There-
fore/* he adds, " the management of the schools should be left
entirely to the judgment of the most intelligent experts, "f

In matters educational, Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746-1827) was
a better Kantian than Kant himself. It is true that he was not
a philosopher in any academic sense of the term, and that he had
probably read none of Kant's works. But, like Kant, he had been
profoundly moved by the Emile, and he had talked much with
people more scholarly than himself who had come under the
influence of Kant, with the result that his social ideals and his
general conception of mental process (so far as it went) were very
much like those of the great philosopher. At any rate, his
principles and methods were just such as Kant might have evolved
* On Pedagogy, p. 15.              f Ibid.> p. 17.